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Computer Keyboard Into the Suds

It is unbelievable to me that anyone would consider tossing their computer keyboard into the dishwasher to clean it up, but here it is; what appears to be a genuine article that discusses the pros and cons of such action. So ahead…read it…and if anyone is brave enough to clean up your keyboard by way of Kitchenaid, let us know. I’m cringing now. Hey, remember I’m not recommending this! Don’t blame me!



A Seal Shield computer keyboard is submerged in water in a bathtub.

Nell Boyce

Florida computerware company, Seal Shield, advertises $50 keyboards that are dishwasher safe. The company sells mostly to hospitals, although their at-home client base is growing. NPR



Tossing a dirty keyboard into the dishwasher seems like a tempting option, but major computer companies like Microsoft and Logitech say that the best way to clean a keyboard is with a damp cloth or compressed air. NPR




Nell Boyce's clean keyboard after the experiment.

Boyce’s keyboard is clean after a run through the dishwasher. Scott Moschella, who cleaned his Mac keyboard, recommends that expensive keyboards be kept out of the suds. NPR




Nell Boyce runs a Seal Shield keyboard underwater.

Nell Boyce

Nell Boyce tests a Seal Shield computer keyboard under water. Brad Whitchurch of Seal Shield claims their keyboards work when wet; he connected a computer to a keyboard submerged 9 feet underwater to prove it. NPR

Morning Edition, June 14, 2007 · Studies show that computer keyboards have more bacteria than toilet seats. But it’s hard to clean all those keys. So some people advocate an extreme solution: Throw your keyboard in your dishwasher.

At first glance, this seems insane. But the computer-keyboard-in-the-dishwasher advice is all over the Internet. And don’t we wish it were true? My keyboard is an old Hewlett Packard that’s encrusted with a kind of mysterious black grime. I thought, “Well, why not try my KitchenAid?'”

I ran the experiment one night. I put the keyboard on the top rack, cord and all, key-side down. I used a little soap, and hit “normal wash.” (I didn’t want to pots ‘n’ pans it.)

I was encouraged to do this by Scott Moschella, a computer guy who runs a blog called Plastic Bugs.

“I think now when you type ‘keyboard’ and ‘dishwasher’ into Google, my site comes up as one of the first results,” Moschella says. “Clearly, you know, all it takes is one geek to do something stupid, and you’ve got a whole bunch of lemmings who are willing to jump off a cliff with you.”

His keyboard came with his beloved first Mac computer. It was one of those stylish keyboards made of transparent plastic. You could see the grime inside, and it was getting unbearably gross and sticky.

“I didn’t want to throw away my keyboard,” laments Moschella. “It was perfect — until the beer got spilled in it.”

That’s when one of his friends said, “Hey, why don’t you just use the dishwasher?” Moschella found the idea oddly compelling.

“He said it as if I should have known, and it’s something he had done before,” Moschella said. “He had never, never done it. But he had that authoritative voice as some geeks get, where you want to believe.”

Moschella had nothing to lose. So, like me, he put his keyboard in and waited.

He says it was an excruciating wait. I felt the same way as my dishwasher glugged and groaned. Finally, it quieted down and I heard a hiss as the drying cycle started. Moschella had suggested that the heat might not be a good thing, so I opened the door. Steam came out. My keyboard felt almost too hot to touch. It was dripping water. It was also absolutely spotless.

But forget how it looks. According to Microsoft’s Sean Butterworth, I had just made a big mistake.

“We do not recommend putting our keyboards, or any keyboards for that matter, in the dishwasher,” he says. “What will cause the problems first, is the short-circuiting in the wiring.”

Butterworth should know. At Microsoft’s hardware division, people check out every possible thing that might harm a keyboard.

“We test with everything from cracker crumbs, salt and pepper, hair,” he explains. “We even create a special solution we call artificial sweat.”

They have also submerged keyboards in plain water.

“And that gets you relatively close to what it would be like if you put it through the dishwasher,” Butterworth says. “And typically that makes most keyboards lose functionality.”

Other major manufacturers have the same party line. Robert Gulino, with Logitech, told me I could wipe the surface gently with a damp cloth. Or, blow out dust with a little can of compressed air.

“But, you know, in terms of washing it, we certainly don’t recommend that,” Gulino says. “If you did want to be able to do that, it would have to be a very different keyboard. The electrical components inside would have to be encased in membranes. But we just don’t do that.”

A few companies do. In fact, a Florida company called Seal Shield makes keyboards that are “dishwasher safe.” It says so right on the box.

Brad Whitchurch says water is no problem.

“We have about a nine-foot cord, and I’ve taken it down to the bottom of a swimming pool, and it worked fine,” Whitchurch says, explaining that he left the monitor and the actual computer on the side of the pool, of course. He typed in “The Seal Shield keyboard works when wet.”

It really does — I tried it in my bathtub!

The company mainly sells these keyboards to hospitals, where cleanliness is a life or death matter — even though studies have shown that just wiping down a keyboard with disinfectant can do the trick. You too can buy this waterproof keyboard — if you’re willing to pay about $50.

I was just hoping my keyboard wouldn’t have to be replaced. After its ordeal in the dishwasher, I let it air dry for a week. Then I plugged it in and started to type. I tested the space bar, the return key, all the numbers and letters. It seemed perfect.

Still, my fellow washers, like Scott Moschella, point out that we may never really know. His Mac keyboard also seems fine, he says, but “honestly, there are some keys that I haven’t ever hit, like the F6 key. I don’t really know if that key works.”

For him, it’s good enough. But he says if you’ve got a fancy keyboard, with all kinds of bells and whistles you can’t live without, you may not want to try this one at home.


My devotional is here.


















America computers Conferences/Seminars Internet Science & Technology Social The World Travel Writing

Communication for “Road-Warriors”

I know that many of you who follow my blog are busy, “cutting-edge” people; you travel a great deal, and find it necessary to communicate with your offices, churches and other staff, and sometimes this presents quite a challenge. I thought of you when I read the following article by Josh Catone, and believe you may find it informative and very helpful. Hope so.

I’ve bookmarked both the article and the link to Basecamp for my own use.

I’ve done a lot of telecommuting in my life. My first real writing gig came when I was 16 as a freelancer for a computer magazine whose offices were 3,000 miles from my house, and since then I’ve worked for a number of blogs, web startups, and computer game companies in an online, virtual office environment. During that time I’ve found that the key to a successful distributed team is communication. The difference between the ventures that failed and those that succeeded was how well set up the communication structure was for the team.

We all love Basecamp, which I think is an invaluable app for distributed teams (we use it here at Read/WriteWeb). It’s a superb way to communicate and keep track of every facet of your project. But back when I started telecommuting, there was no Basecamp, so we had to cobble together our own solution, mostly from opensource software. These days, there are is even more great software available to teams who want to assemble their own virtual office. Below are some of the tools every team needs to create their own Fakecamp.

The complete extensive article is here.


My devotional blog is here.

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Fined For Using Free Internet Wireless

Because I travel a great deal, and because I use a laptop computer with wireless capability, I was stunned to read this article. It amazes me, and confuses me, that it is illegal to use one’s computer outside a cafe that offers free internet service for its customers. Off to jail I may go one of these days! Promise you’ll send cookies.


A man surfs the Internet using his Wi-Fi-enabled laptop in a Philadelphia park.

A Michigan man has been fined $400 and given 40 hours of community service for accessing an open wireless Internet connection outside a coffee shop.

Under a little known state law against computer hackers, Sam Peterson II, of Cedar Springs, Mich., faced a felony charge after cops found him on March 27 sitting in front of the Re-Union Street Café in Sparta, Mich., surfing the Web from his brand-new laptop.

Last week, Peterson chose to pay the fine instead as part of a jail-diversion program.

“I think a lot of people should be shocked, because quite honestly, I still don’t understand it myself.”

Read the entire article here.


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Computer Coffee Table Debuts

Speaking of computers, have you seen this one? A computer coffee table. I suppose everyone gathers round, scroll their fingers over the surface, and voila! up come the programs. As I understand it, this is a Microsoft product that is scheduled to debut today in Carlsbad, CA. and should be in the stores by November.

Cost? A mere $10,000. Take a look below and finish reading here.

Edit: 2:39    Here is a video of this amazing piece.


May 25: Microsoft exec Mark Bolger sorts digital photos on a Surface touchscreen table computer at the Starwood Hotel in Seattle.


The machines, which Microsoft planned to debut Wednesday at a technology conference in Carlsbad, Calif., are set to arrive in November in T-Mobile USA stores and properties owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) and Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET)

America Apple Computers computers Macs Photography Social The World

I Am Apple People

A Day in the Life of an Apple Genius

By: Eugene Robinson of Mac Life

What does it take to be chosen as an elite power user – a Mac aficionado so advanced you even pass Apple’s muster? To find out, we asked some Genius Bar smarties.

I love my new Apple computer, although I have not mastered it yet. It’s white and pretty, and smart people recommended it as I considered which computer to purchase, and everyone who owns one says they would never have anything else, and within Apple stores are brilliant people (at least that is said to be true 🙂 ), and really I’m hoping some of this smartness will rub off on me just because my computer has a pretty apple on its cover. I’ll let you know if that works. In the meantime, I know you’ll enjoy reading this article about Apple People.

Read it all here.

America computers Internet Science & Technology Social The World

Transition from One Black Phone to a Fully Wireless City

I believe one of the biggest changes I have seen in my lifetime is that of communication. Houses are much the same as when I was a child, just a bit bigger and with more bathrooms, transportation is little different, cars go faster and planes are more common, but really the difference is small.

But in the field of communication lie distinct and far reaching differences. In my childhood home, we had one telephone–a black one that was wired into the wall and stayed in one spot. We never lost it, nor do I recall ever having a repairman out because it refused to operate correctly. In high school I learned to type on a standard Remington which required the changing of ribbons, the throwing of its carriage, (no it didn’t actually fly through the air, but throwing the carriage took the typist to the next line) carbon papers for multiple copies, and fits of exasperation when a mistake was made, for corrections were only possible through the precise erasing of the mis-stroked letter, and the careful retyping in order to correct the error. This correction process required placing pieces of paper behind the carbon papers during the erasing event so that each page was kept smudge free (at least that was the objective, although it didn’t usually work out that way).

Now we labor over computers which are downright magical. With the swift stroke of one key we correct a whole page, throw the page away, bring it back, have said page appear on the computer of a friend who sits in her home across the bounding sea, have her critique said document, then sail it back to the waiting screen of our own computer. World-class libraries are merely a click away, as are shopping malls, and Wall Street, and hotel reservations centers and colleges and universities. Need an operation when you’re far removed from a specialist? Computer to the rescue! With amazing precision the human hand is directed, a successful surgery is performed and a life is saved. Truly mind-boggling.

Telephones are ubiquitous, making it common that we have buds in our ears, and not at all unusual that we walk down the sidewalk as we carry on a full conversation with an invisible person. Wireless capabilities connect our computers to the World Wide Web as we sit in the city park or have coffee at Starbucks.

Yes, since the far away days of my childhood, the communication scene has changed…drastically…

Following is a timely article concerning the future of communication—particularly in the realm of wireless.


The Future of Wireless
ISPs, Businesses and Even Cities Seek to Offer
Cheap or Free Connections — Which Will Win?
April 30, 2007
Not so long ago, Wi-Fi was a home project for tech geeks with a high tolerance for fiddling with router settings and WEP encryption. Today, wireless Internet access is regarded as practically a digerati birthright. Finding yourself in an airport or hotel without free wireless access is as odd and unwelcome as finding out your rental car doesn’t have a CD player. (Wait a year or two, and you’ll be able to substitute “satellite radio” or “iPod jack” for “CD player.”)

Wireless access is available in more and more places — but there’s no rhyme or reason to how you get it.

Airports and hotels offer Wi-Fi for free. So do cafes, fast-food places, bookstores and other businesses hoping to make some money off people camping on the premises while they access the Net. Starbucks and McDonald’s are wireless front ends for T-Mobile and Wayport, which offer a range of plans for hourly, daily or monthly wireless access anywhere a network hot spot can be found — a strategy also followed by Boingo Wireless. And then some 300 cities and towns are at various stages in offering cheap or free wireless access.

Remainder of the article here.

America Apple Computers Blogging computers Macs The World Writing

Common Mistakes of New Mac Users

Thinking that someone beside me might have a new Apple, I’ve decided to share this article I located. Check it out and don’t miss the comments. They’re pretty neat.

Damien Barrett writes: We’ve all seen the common mistakes made by people new to Mac OS X:

1) they close an application’s windows thinking the program has quit.
2) they’ll download Firefox and then run the browser from the disk image and then not be able to throw away the disk image because the program is still running. See number 1.
3) .exe files lie scattered around the desktop from aborted downloads of Flash Player or some screensaver-cursor-spyware doodad.
4) untitled folder. untitled folder 2. untitled folder 3. untitled folder 4…
5) Using Safari’s Google search field to get to
6) Desktop Picture or Wallpaper is not a synonym for Screensaver.

I could go on, but you get the idea. What have you seen that are common mistakes made by people using Macs? Read the rest of the article here.